Alfreton Town were beaten 3-1 by high-spending Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, with all three goals virtually gift-wrapped for the hosts.
Fielding an unchanged side from the Bank Holiday success over Hereford United, the Reds were dealt a blow after just 15 minutes when skipper Chris Westwood pulled up with a hamstring injury.
Defender Michael Wylde made his first Alfreton appearance as replacement, but the Reds were already trailing to a seventh minute James Norwood goal that had stemmed from Rovers’ third corner.
The ball had been cleared only as far as Anthony Barry on the left and his cross was converted by Norwood from eight yards with a diving header after Connor Franklin had been unable to cut out the delivery.
John Akinde scuffed a shot wide from 25 yards after good approach work, then a flowing Forest Green raid ended with Wylde throwing himself in front of Barry’s shot to block.
Josh Law sent Wishart into the area in the 22nd minute, but no penalty award was forthcoming when the striker was bundled over by Al Bangura, then to make matters worse sixty seconds later Rovers led 2-0.
Norwood was left in space again to notch his second goal from a central position ten yards out after being put through by Wright, but heads did not drop and both Akinde and John McGrath went close.
Atkins repelled Norwood’s low drive at the foot of the post in the 34th minute, then from Yan Klukowski’s corner Chris Stokes headed wide.
Alfreton trailed 3-0 ten minutes before the break when Wright turned Stokes’s cross from the left past Atkins from eight yards, then in response Akinde turned neatly in the box to fire into the side-netting.
A promising run down the left by Wishart petered out with Daniel Meadows’s poor shot.
Alfreton finally beat Russell with ten remaining when Bradley smashed the ball low and hard from the edge of the area after receiving McGrath’s free-kick, the shot deflected by Wylde to deceive the keeper.
Finally, Alastair Taylor’s 86th minute cross needed to be cleared hurriedly behind by Jared Hodgkiss with Clayton and Akinde converging on the target.